Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis

Date:
July 26, 2013
Source:
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
A small percentage of people diagnosed with a mysterious neurological condition may only experience psychiatric changes - such as delusional thinking, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior - according to a new study.

A small percentage of people diagnosed with a mysterious neurological condition may only experience psychiatric changes -- such as delusional thinking, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior -- according to a new study by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, people who had previously been diagnosed with this disease, called anti-NMDA receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis, had relapses that only involved psychiatric behavior.

In an article published Online First in JAMA Neurology, researchers suggest that, while isolated psychiatric episodes are rare in anti-NMDAR encephalitis cases, abnormal test findings or subtle neurological symptoms should prompt screening for the condition, as it is treatable with immunotherapies.

Within a large group of 571 patients with confirmed Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis, only 23 patients (4 percent) had isolated psychiatric episodes. Of the 23, 5 patients experienced the onset of behavior changes as their only symptoms, without neurological changes, while 18 patients had psychiatric symptoms emerge at the outset of a relapse of Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis in which no neurological changes were identified. After being treated for the condition, 83 percent of these patients recovered substantially or completely.

"While many patients with Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis present with isolated psychiatric symptoms, most of these patients subsequently develop, in a matter of days, additional neurological symptoms which help to make the diagnosis of the disease. In the current study, we find out that a small percentage of patients do not develop neurological symptoms, or sometimes these are very subtle and transitory. Studies using brain MRI and analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid may help to demonstrate signs of inflammation," said Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of Neurology. "For patients who have been previously diagnosed with Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis and are in remission, any behavior change may present a relapse and should be tested quickly and treated aggressively."

Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis is one of the most common forms of autoimmune encephalitis, and symptoms can include psychiatric symptoms, memory issues, speech disorders, seizures, involuntary movements, and loss of consciousness. In an earlier Penn Medicine study, 38 percent of all patients (and 46 percent of females with the condition) were found to have a tumor, most commonly it was an ovarian tumor. When correctly diagnosed and treated early, Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis can be effectively treated.

"For patients with new psychotic symptoms that are evaluated in centers where an MRI, EEG or spinal fluid test may not have been administered, there is a chance that Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis may be missed," said lead author Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and attending physician in Psychiatry at Penn. "However, the likelihood of pure or isolated new-onset psychosis to be anti-NMDAR encephalitis gradually decreases if no other symptoms emerge during the first 4 weeks of psychosis."

Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis was first characterized by Penn's Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of Neurology, and David R. Lynch, MD, PhD, associate professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, in 2007. One year later, the same investigators, in collaboration with Rita Balice-Gordon, PhD, professor of Neuroscience, characterized the main syndrome and provided preliminary evidence that the antibodies have a pathogenic effect on the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor in the Lancet Neurology in December 2008. The disease can be diagnosed using a test developed at the University of Pennsylvania and currently available worldwide. With appropriate treatment, approximately 81 percent of patients significantly improve and, with a recovery process that takes an average of 2 years, can fully recover.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130726112059.htm>.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (2013, July 26). Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130726112059.htm
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130726112059.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins